From the Angelique Luminarise website, as always - namely, here. Possibly the last short story, as we've gone through all the Guardians, unless they're doing another tale with everyone together or with the side characters to wrap things up.

At the Park

After Nicola left, Xeno reflected on the conversation he'd had a little while ago before speaking to Kanata.

"Kanata, you were saying that the open-air interviews were like a test."

Kanata nodded and responded: "Yeah. It feels like you're the teacher or something."

Open-air interviews - the dialogues that took place between Guardians and Queen Candidates in the park on Saturdays & Sundays. The Guardians would quiz the Candidates on their knowledge of everything from the status of the continents they were cultivating and the conditions of the people who lived there to their memory of what they'd done on the exam to even the relationships between the Guardians.

How the Candidates spent their weekends was up to them; they weren't required to go to the park on a date - for an open-air interview. However, the interviews did present excellent opportunities for Candidates to showcase their qualities, so skillful use of this system could mean the difference between victory or defeat.

"The first time, it didn't feel at all like a date. Like, there were...clowns 'n' stuff there...celebrating the start of the Queen's Exam. ...Freaked me out, whatever they were."

At Kanata's words, Xeno thought back to that day and smiled. "Yeah; at first, we just walked about the park and talked a little!"

Right after the Queen's Exam began, the Guardians acted more as escorts around the park, letting the Candidates, who had just come to the Flying City, get accustomed to the place.
However, once the first regular review* had taken place, the dates changed, assuming their current form.

"I think it's more fun the way they are now!" Xeno said. "Maybe because it really comes through how hard they're working on the exam. And if you wrap it up quickly, you can talk about so much more!"

Yes; if the open-air interview was concluded quickly - and without any mistakes on the Candidate's part - there would be time for a more traditional and more pleasant date, where the Candidate and Guardian could discuss any number of things.

Kanata closed his eyes as if remembering his previous date and murmured: "Yeah, you can say that. ...But I mean, that she's volunteering to be interviewed - and asking me to do it...I think that's awesome, y'know?"

Xeno nodded. The pair turned their eyes to the others visiting the park. A small child was starting to cry nearby. A woman who seemed to be the mother came running and took the child into her arms - a sweet mother-and-child scene. Watching it, Kanata was taken back to his place of birth - to the planet of Birth**, far from the Flying City.

"...Kanata - just let me know if there's anything I can do for you, OK? We're both Guardians, after all, and I've been here for longer."

Kanata tore his eyes away from the child at Xeno's words and flashed a smile in return. "You're a big help, Xeno - really. If it weren't for you, I'd just be scared and lost all the time. Before, I couldn't even relax and talk about school or stuff."

At Xeno's reply, Kanata shook his head, as if returning to his usual self, and said: "Oh, man - look at the time. Should we be getting back to the Holy Palace?"

Xeno checked the time himself at Kanata's comment. "Yeah! After all, we might have to go for a continent inspection."

"Ahh - hope I get the chance. Wonder if she's nominated me..."

Xeno broke out in a smile at Kanata's surprisingly unguarded comment. "It's so fun, going to the continents! I wonder if... I mean, I don't think I'll get picked, but..."

"What? You went just last week, Xeno!"

"That was probably just because the continent was out of balance just before. I wonder what'll happen this week?"

Smiling, the pair began their walk back to the Holy Palace.

* - Regular review: An inspection that takes place during the Queen's Exam once every 28 days (= one period). While the content changes over time, the Candidate who has produced better results during the exam is triumphant. Furthermore, victory will increase the Candidate's stamina.
** - Birth: Birthplace of the heroine and Kanata. A frontier planet, it is particularly susceptible to external influence when the universe is out of balance. "Birth" is the name given to the world by the central planet and its environs.

I don't know who "Nicola" is.

These short stories have gradually become less about character and more about mechanics. I'm don't think that's a good thing, as the genre's more about the former than the latter. It's the guys you have to sell the fans on here.

Xeno and Kanata are still very obviously "what if Marcel and Zephel switched places?". I know Kanata's Water, not Green, but I see nothing to convince me that he fits Water at all.

Ripe for discussion is, of course, the planet of "Birth." With this and the planet of "Owl," I can't recall the series ever being this clumsy in its use of English. If this is getting translated to English, I'd recommend they go with "Valse" - it almost matches the katakana, it's French, it's a term suited for Angelique.

Incidentally, we have our first glimpse of our heroine here, in the comic on the right. She looks very '80s, with her haircut and off-the-shoulder, exposed-tank-top-straps shirt.

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